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Empire (computer game)

There have been a number of different computer games called Empire. They fall into two categories, the first category being a primarily military game with simple rules and played at a single sitting, and the second category being a complex combined military-economic game usually involving many players over a period of days or weeks.

The simpler kind of Empire started as a program written by Walter Bright[?] around 1977 for VAX/VMS[?] and distributed via DECUS[?]. This version was ported to MS-DOS in 1984. A partial rewrite by Mark Baldwin in 1987 was sold as Empire: Wargame of the Century on the Atari ST and other platforms, and in the 1990s released another successor, Empire Deluxe.

The concept of the game is that each player starts with one city in an unexplored world, uses the city to build armies, aircraft, and various types of ships from transports to battleships, explores the world, capturing cities as they are found and using them to build more military units. Eventually the players find each other and fight until only one is left. Although the rules are simple, the game is notable for its chess-like depth.

This version of Empire inspired a number of other games, including Strategic Conquest, Empire Master, and Xconq[?].

The more complex Empire game also dates from the 1970s, and was originally designed by Peter S. Langston[?] to be a comprehensive economic simulation with dozens of players participating. The game is turn-based, with players giving their orders at their convenience, then being executed all at once by the game server, at set intervals ranging from a few hours to once/day. The world consists of "sectors" which may be designated as agricultural, industrial, etc, and there are dozens of types of units, requiring a variety of raw and manufactured materials for their creation.

The game source code has been modified and mutated by many hands, and there are nearly as many versions as games that have been played. Version names have included BSD Empire, PSL Empire, and Wolfpack Empire. Galactic Bloodshed (GB for short) is a space-themed game of similar character.

The Usenet newsgroup rec.games.empire (http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&group=rec.games.empire) is devoted to discussion and game setup/coordination for Empire.



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